From devotion to the doctors' guild @ Chiesa dei Santi Cosma e Damiano

Of Francesco di Stefano

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From devotion to the doctors' guild

Cosma and Damiano are particular saints: medical martyrs in Cilicia in the third century, with immediate devotion that spread in the early Middle Ages in Arabia and Byzantium, as well as in the West. They are patrons of surgeons and apothecaries throughout the Mediterranean, when their relics were brought to Genoa, they gave immediate prestige to the city and to the church that houses them. In 1476 the guild of surgeons and barbers had a common sepulcher still existing in the church. In addition to the important guild, many noble families of the neighborhood had a tomb in the church, and they participated in enriching the endowment of artistic works that lasted until 1800, with contributions from many of the artists who worked in Genoa in each period: from Barnaba and Modena to Gioacchino Assereto, from Bernardo Castello to Puget.

From a site that contains over 150 images of the medical saints, as evidence of the great credit of the medical saints, we chose that of Pesellino in the predella of the altarpiece of the Novice of Filippo Lippi of 1450, preserved in the Uffizi.

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